Is it really possible to enjoy your social drinking and still maintain a healthy body weight and composition? The answer is somewhat complicated and likely depends on your ultimate goals.
At a Glance In contrast to widely held beliefs, alcohol has very few positive effects on sleep. There are numerous negative effects to consuming alcohol before bedtime, including increased insomnia and a reduction in sleep quality We discuss the scientific evidence regarding the effects of alcohol on sleep in relation to normal, healthy sleep patterns All of the functions of sleep are not yet fully understood.
Some ideas are based on scientific evidence; others are traditional remedies, or even urban myths. Many people still hold true to the tradition of a nightcap — a little tipple before bedtime — to help improve their sleep. However, research into the effects of alcohol on sleep suggests it may not be the best thing for you.
If you are one of the people who indulge in alcohol in the belief that it will help you sleep, it is important to arm yourself with the facts about sleep and alcohol. In this article, we A look at the effects of alcohol on the body the relationship between alcohol and sleep and take a thorough look at the scientific evidence which describes what sleep is, the importance of sleep and how alcohol affects the body, with particular regard to the impact on sleep.
Essentially, alcohol, or ethanol, is a type of carbohydrate which is produced by yeast when it breaks down sugars without the presence of oxygen. This process is called fermentation, and is used in different ways by a number of manufacturers to produce the various different types of alcohol we see on our liquor store shelves.
How Does Alcohol Affect the Body? After consuming alcohol, it is assimilated into the bloodstream from the digestive system. Alcohol affects all of the organs in the body, and the effect of the alcohol depends on the amount and speed of alcohol consumption; how much food is in the stomach prior to drinking alcohol, our age, physical health and interaction between alcohol and any drugs — prescription or otherwise — are all factors on how alcohol affects and individual.
Brain — alcohol disrupts the communication pathways in the brain, changing the efficiency of the messages between different parts of the brain.
This can decrease our coordination of movement, decrease our ability to think clearly and judge accurately as well as change our mood and behavior. Alcohol also causes changes in our cardiovascular system that increases the risk of stroke, high blood pressure and heart attack.
A low to moderate level of consumption, however, has been linked with increased vascular health, and lower risk of coronary heart disease.
Studies do note, however, that more research is needed to confirm that health benefits are a direct result of moderate alcohol intake, and observe that they may be linked to the type of alcohol consumed.
Consuming more alcohol than the liver can handle can lead to fatty liver disease, a form of alcohol-related hepatitis, liver fibrosis and cirrhosis of the liver. Alcohol stimulates the pancreas to produce poisonous chemicals which can lead to pancreatitis; a condition where inflammation of in the pancreas leads to the breakdown of pancreatic tissue, resulting in tissue damage, bleeding, increased risk of infection and permanent damage to the pancreas.
Research indicates that sleep is actually a series of different phases which follow a specific pattern that recurs throughout the night. NREM has three distinct phases: N1 — when you first close your eyes. For the first minutes of sleep, you sleep very lightly and are very easily disturbed.
N2 — another phase of light sleep which is easily disturbed, this phase usually lasts for between ten and 25 minutes. The N2 phase is characterized by a decrease in heart rate and body temperature as your body prepares for deep sleep.
N3 — this is a deep sleep phase, where brain activity slows down — brain waves become slower and larger and you become less responsive to environmental disturbances. The N3 phase usually lasts for between 20 to 40 minutes. Research indicates that we normally experience a further phase of N2 sleep before REM sleep begins.
During the NREM sleep phase, the body begins to heal, repair and renew body tissue. The immune system also starts to strengthen. REM sleep phases make up approximately 25 percent of our total sleep, and they become longer as the night progresses.
This is a deep sleep phase where dreams occur. Research studies have shown that alcohol significantly reduces sleep onset latency — the amount of time it takes us to fall asleep. It has also been shown to increase the quality and quantity of NREM when we first fall asleep after consuming alcohol.
The feelings of sleepiness that accompany alcohol consumption are actually related to the effects of alcohol on relaxing the muscles and its action of slowing down brain function.
This is not a natural way to achieve sleep, and works in direct contrast with the way our brain normally stimulates us to sleep. One such study demonstrated that the first period of REM sleep after consuming alcohol is significantly delayed when compared with falling asleep after no alcohol.
This is the time when, during normal sleep, our periods of REM sleep should be increasing. While you sleep, the body starts to recognize the after effects of drinking alcohol, such as an increased need for sugar and water, increased acid in the digestive system and associated stomach irritation.
These alcohol-related factors can also cause waking. The more we wake from sleep, the more our normal sleep cycles are disrupted and the poorer the quality of sleep we get.How Alcohol Can Affect Your Body Composition. In order to understand how the body metabolizes alcohol, we must first take a look at how the body breaks down different macronutrients.
There are three major macronutrients: lipids, carbohydrates, and protein. Effects of Alcohol on Caloric Intake. Pick your poison wisely — alcohol with less congeners, toxic chemicals, will have different effects on the body.
Eat carbs before you drink to avoid getting too drunk too fast. Eat carbs before you drink to avoid getting too drunk too fast.
Mix alcohol with any of these drugs and you increase your risk of coma and death! Drugs + Your Body: It Isn't Pretty Check out this poster from NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) to see up close how drastically drugs can affect your looks and body.
Vomiting, dehydration, loss of balance, blurred vision and lowered body temperature are all short term effects, as they will stop when the alcohol has worn off, or when the body has become hydrated again. Want to know the truth about what alcohol does to your body?
Alcohol effects every part of your body, including your brain, liver, stomach, and more. Let’s discover the truth about what alcohol does to the human body. what follows is an explanation of the effects alcohol has on various parts of the body.
Hold on tight. Note. How alcohol affects us The effects of drinking alcohol vary from person to person because of who we are, how much we drink, and the different ways in which our bodies process alcohol. Take a look below and explore the effects alcohol can .